I have a confession to make. I wasn’t actually very good at FFA. I wasn’t necessarily bad at FFA, but I wasn’t particularly good, either.
A while back, as I was helping a student prepare for a speaking competition, she remarked about how easy it must have been for me, back in my day (which, I will add, was not THAT long ago). That’s a fair comment given the fact that people actually pay me to talk now. But it wasn’t true.
Public speaking was my passion in FFA, but I was never great at it. I never even made it to our state competition. Obviously, I never got to deliver that keynote on stage at convention like I dreamed about.
Another time, a student asked me about being an FFA officer. I surprised him when I said I was an officer, but only at the chapter level. “President then, I assume?” he responded.
Nope, not even president.
In all reality, my four years of FFA were rather unremarkable compared with many. And that is the single greatest secret of the organization that changed my life.
Any organization has the power to change the lives of the top few. FFA is amazing at that, and I see it every time I have the privilege of working with its members. But FFA has something beyond that – something deeper.
For every one of those top kids you see delivering a keynote, walking across a stage or giving an interview, there are a dozen more back home who are quietly going about their FFA experience, most of which will be like mine – rather unremarkable. Still, their lives will be changed.
FFA supplies a skill set, a knowledge base and an experience to make students strong and world-ready, for the top, the middle and even the bottom.
FFA prepares kids for success, whether they travel the country in their corduroy jackets or never leave their high school shops. Along with the advisors who selflessly lead it, FFA has the ability to reach down to the bottom and indiscriminately pull kids up. It’s an ability unmatched by any other organization.
FFA is life changing for the most successful. But FFA is life changing for the rest of us, too.